There was a touching moment before tonight’s Red Sox/Rays game, as nine-year-old Alayna Adams threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tropicana Field and was reunited with her dad in the process.
Army Lt. Col. Will Adams, who had been stationed in Afghanistan for the past year, was actually behind the plate decked out in full catcher’s gear. After he caught the pitch from his daughter, he took off the mask and the surprise reunion was on. You can watch the video here.
By the way, here’s a beautiful shot of the moment from Chris O’Meara of the Associated Press. As our own Craig Calcaterra would say, it’s gettin’ a little dusty in here.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.